President Donald Trump extended Executive Order 13694, which allows the government to issue sanctions against people and organizations engaged in significant cyberattacks and cybercrime against the U.S., according to media reports. Trump extended the order for one year.
The order was introduced by former President Barack Obama on April 1, 2015. Without renewal, the executive order would have expired on Saturday.
Trump sent a letter to Congress Wednesday about his intention to renew the order, stating concerns about malicious foreign actors are still valid. "Significant malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States," according to the letter, CIO.com reports.
The executive order allows the U.S. to retaliate against any organization that hacks critical infrastructure, launches a significant denial of service attack or other instances of "economic hacking," according to the report. It also includes election-related systems.
It’s unclear whether the order was extended because there are new cyberthreats against the U.S., or whether it was kept in place simply for good measure. Either way, there's little downside to keeping it in play.
Earlier this month, FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia said the U.S. remains at huge risk of falling victim to cyberattacks because there are no repercussions for hacking companies in the West. "Until we can impose some risk, some deterrence, these intrusions are here to stay," said Mandia, in an interview with Fortune.
Trump’s agenda has never had much focus on technology, save for an emphasis on cybersecurity. His proposed fiscal year 2018 budget introduced in mid-March included a $61 million request for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to fight terrorism and combat foreign cyberthreats as well as money to boost cybersecurity efforts at several other federal agencies, including the Pentagon, the Treasury Department and NASA.